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On TV Today's Date:

original air-date: 04-28-04

There is so much in this episode that one might be tempted to call it a seven course dinner. But really it’s more of a buffet. There’s enough going on that each fan can take what he or she wants. Well, except those who prefer a Lorne rich diet. As with most of this season, that green skinned sultan of song is mostly wasted (other than perhaps reminding viewers how annoying push-to-talk phones are, especially to those nearby who must endure the beeping).

The plot is simple enough: What to do about the powder keg known as Illyria. Angel apparently views “her” as an obstacle to dealing with the Senior Partners. Gee, you’d think with the mindwipe mostly gone (the issue of Gunn being affected is irrelevant at this point) and Lindsey back that Angel would focus more on a Wolfram & Hart exit plan.

And speaking of Lindsey, why let him go? “Well, OK, thanks for telling me we’re already in the apocalypse. Be sure to grab a mint on the way out!”

Fortunately the Illyria-centric plot is satisfying enough that many fans will likely forgive the gap in arc continuity. Amy Acker is wonderful as the blue haired demi-deity, and Adam Baldwin continues to steal scenes as the ever wel- pressed Hamilton. Meanwhile, fans get to see another Wes that’s neither light nor dark. Instead, it’s, well, “Nutty” Wes, an amalgam of despair, remorse, and increasing obsession with Illyria.

If it’s a little uncomfortable to watch Wes scurrying around his books, then good: Alexis Denisof is doing a solid job (again). One might wonder if the writers, as suggested by some in the past, are taking another cue from the works of Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, and the like, i.e., those who get involved with “The Old Ones” tended to lose it!

One question: Why doesn’t Wes relay his conversation with Hamilton to Angel? Certainly Angel would want to know that the SPs are eager to commit Illyriacide.

There is a subplot involving a pregnant woman and an amusing group of demons called the “Fell Brethren.” The short scene involving their choice of beverage is wonderful (due to unexpected contrast) but perhaps sadly nostalgic, i.e., missing those light moments more common in seasons gone by. More importantly, though, the secondary story shows us that the old Gunn is back. If Wes is not compos mentis enough to push Angel into action, can Gunn?

The episode wraps up with some time tripping scenes that are, well, pretty trippy and fun to watch. Eventually the front and back stories meet. But the way Angel acts on Illyria’s would-be advice is unlikely to be what either Gunn or the fans might expect. The result is another ambiguous ending with a compelling cliffhanger component. Just what is the master of brooding up to?

At least a commercial for New York Minute finally revealed the true identity of the Senior Partners: The Olsen Twins. Nooooooooooo!!!!!

Chris Crotty


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